Art can also be a challenge to the pandemic. Forced to lockdown last year David Hockney, one of the greats of British art of the last century, reacted by creating 116 new works, which are now on display at the Royal Academy in London.
Confined to his country house in Normandy, Hockney painted what he could see: the flowers, trees, fields and woods around him. Inspired by Monet in his garden in Giverny, not far from his estate, the English as well as French artist has revisited the same tree or the same landscape at different times of the day, in different light conditions to explore the differences. It is “a joyful celebration of the seasons,” said the artist, especially spring, from its almost fearful beginnings after the rigors of winter to the full triumph of flowering and the blossoming of summer.
“No pandemic can erase spring,” according to Hockney.
It is also a celebration of nature and its beauties that are constantly renewed, overcoming every human problem such as the coronavirus. Human beings are absent from the works on display at the Royal Academy: the protagonists are cherry blossoms, an ancient and gnarled pear tree, a pond in the rain, a verdant lawn of new and tender grass.
83 years old
At the age of 83, the English artist continues to experiment and use new technologies with the energy and enthusiasm of a boy. He started with his iPhone in 2007, then switched to the iPad and Stylus in 2010, which he used to revisit the landscape of his native Yorkshire for his last show at the Royal Academy in 2012. Since then Hockney has been using almost exclusively the Brushes app on his iPad. For this new exhibition dedicated to Normandy, he printed the works on large paper. Technology is used in different ways. There is also a painting which is a screen that shows the incessant rain on a green landscape, with a hypnotic effect. And a work that, like a cartoon, shows a cherry tree that transforms before our eyes, with more leaves and then with splendid pink flowers against the backdrop of an iridescent sky.